Silent Arrow announced that the Air Force of a U.S. allied government in the Middle East has conducted the first overseas deployments of the Silent Arrow GD-2000 cargo delivery drone under a $1.5M operational evaluation contract.
In preparation for the flight operation, 1,026 lbs. (465 kg) of an undisclosed cargo load was secured inside the 26 cubic foot fuselage of two GD-2000s, bringing the gross vehicle weight of each aircraft to 1,520 lbs. (689 kg), below Silent Arrow’s certified max gross of 2,000 lbs. (907 kg).
Two C-130s were used in the operation, during which two GD-2000s were rigged in accordance with U.S. military standards for Container Delivery System (CDS) bundles. Deployment occurred over a desert environment where Silent Arrow demonstrated completely autonomous flight, autonomous waypoint selection, and navigation, and during the auto-landing sequence, Silent Arrow’s autonomous autopilot was able to command and achieve a zero-sink rate flare.
A series of 12 Block 1 GD-2000s are currently on station in the Middle East in support of the contract, with 15 Block 2 aircraft in production at Silent Arrow’s Irvine, California facility due to ship in the first half of 2022. To date, 45 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Silent Arrow® GD-2000s have been built, with Full-Rate Production (FRP) into the thousands of units expected to begin in 2023.
“As we prepare for mass production, it’s encouraging to see foreign allied governments as enthusiastic about the new capabilities Silent Arrow brings to the warfighter as the U.S. military has been,” said Chip Yates, Silent Arrow’s founder and CEO. “We have distribution agreements in place for 37 countries so far and are working hard to become the worldwide standard for airdrop logistics.”
Originally designed to replace GPS-steered parachutes (JPADS) under contract from the U.S. Marine Corps, the Silent Arrow line of autonomous cargo delivery aircraft has so far expanded to three platforms based on military tactical resupply requirements and has supplied or won contracts directly with all four U.S. military service branches for the following products:
- Silent Arrow GD-2000 (26 cubic feet for up to 1,500 pounds of payload)
- Silent Arrow Widebody (140 cubic feet for greater than 1,500 pounds of payload)
- Silent Arrow Precision Guided Bundle (7.6 cubic feet for 350 pounds of payload)
Silent Arrow’s tightly integrated packaging with its patented spring-deployed wing system, industry-leading payload capacity, 40+ mile standoff distance, and low unit cost, has become a leading solution for non-parachute, heavy payload airdrop logistics around the world.